Inside the Den takes an inside look into past players and staff of the University of Westminster Dragons. We catch-up on how life is after the programme and the inspirational work they have achieved since leaving Westminster.
We welcome to the Dragons Den, University of Westminster Masters of Arts graduate in Photography and Photojournalism Jake Vyner.
In 2014-15, Jake balanced studying and working with the Men’s Basketball programme. He built a solid relationship as the team’s photographer/videographer and became good friends with the clubs players and staff, including travelling with the team to Glasgow for competition at the end of the academic year.
Jake graduated from Westminster back in 2015, since then has been busy working with professional sports teams as a photographer, content creator and graphic designer back in the States and also living the family life.
Westminster-Basketball.com had the fortunate chance to catch up with him.
1. Jake, you were part of the Westminster Dragons during their 2014/15 campaign while studying your MA in Photography and Photojournalism, can you explain what was your general interest to be part of the Dragons?
JV: My main interest in Photojournalism is sports, so I wanted to do a project on one of our sports teams. For me, choosing to work with the Dragons Men’s Basketball team came down to a few reasons. Being from the Cleveland area, basketball is in my blood. Als, too basketball is still a growing sport in the UK and I wanted to document what it was like. And thirdly from the start, everyone on the team was so friendly and welcoming.
2. What did you enjoy most about your time in London and Westminster University?
JV: For me, being in the biggest and the most diverse city in the world was the best part. As a photographer, it was a gold mine. So much to do and photograph.
3. How about your best moments with the Westminster Dragons?
JV: I would have to say my best moment was when we went to Glasgow as a team. My family immigrated to the US from Scotland, so it was neat to see where my family came from. Also, it was a great team bonding experience.
4.Do you believe your experience with the Westminster Dragons benefited your career?
JV: Absolutely. It taught me that there was more to sports photography than just getting the action shot. It taught me to photograph the little things and be more observant.
“For photographers and especially sports photographers, photograph anything and everything. It doesn’t matter if it is your little brother’s football game or an NBA game always shoot. Practice makes perfect.“
– Jake Vyner
5. You worked with the Sugar Land Skeeters, an American professional baseball team, Erie Otters, a major junior ice hockey team. These are great teams to have on your resume, how can you describe that experience?
JV: Working for the Erie Otters was fantastic. It was my first opportunity to work in the sports photography world. I learned the ins and outs of the Hockey world and got to photograph soon to be NHL stars. As for the Sugar Land Skeeters that was probably the most valuable experience that I have had in my life. Baseball is a long and tough season. Especially in hot Texas. There are over 150 games in a season and have to work 13 hour days for usually 7 days in a row. I had to work not only as the photographer but the graphic designer and content creator. I learned a lot about using both design and photography and how to use them effectively together.
6. What else have you been up to since Westminster University, life and career-wise?
JV: I recently just began a job at Texas’ oldest independent craft brewery, Saint Arnold Brewing Company. There I am working as a Graphic Designer. I also take photos of our merchandise. I also was married in November of 2016 to my wife Angela. We met at my first university before I moved to England to go to Westminster. I also play hockey and basketball in my free time.
7. What would your advice be to any upcoming photographers, students or alumni, having worked in the professional field? Especially to those people who want to get into sports photography?
JV: For photographers and especially sports photographers, photograph anything and everything. It doesn’t matter if it is your little brother’s football game or an NBA game always shoot. Practice makes perfect. And also always carry a camera around with you. You never know what might happen and you don’t want to miss your chance. I try to follow the saying by the Greatest hockey player of all time Wayne Gretzky. You miss 100 per cent of the shots you never take.
“I try to follow the saying by the Greatest hockey player of all time Wayne Gretzky. You miss 100 per cent of the shots you never take.”
– Jake Vyner
For more work on Jake Vyner visit his online portfolio www.jakevyner.com
Visit Jake’s Westminster work “FAM” https://www.flickr.com/photos/44497329@N07/sets/72157649400947644/